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2023 Leadership Scholarship Awardees PLUS An Update On 2022 Recipients


The results of the October 2023 Leadership Scholarship nominations are here!

The Leadership Scholarship Award recognizes OWA members who have served the OWA with their dedicated committee work and strong commitment to growing leadership roles for women in the optical industry. These grants are used for professional and personal development of the recipients who were nominated by other OWA members.

Many thanks go to our OWA Individual Contributors, whose donations help make these scholarships possible.

Congratulations To The 2023 Recipients:

  1. Katherine Cruz, OWA Connection & Enrichment Committee (Silhouette)

  2. Mary Lanning Jones, OWA Connection & Enrichment Committee (Zyloware)

  3. Shelley Logan, OWA Membership Committee (WestGroupe)

The OWA’s Platinum Sponsors are also eligible to select an exceptional female employee who shows promise, dedication, and drive to also receive a Leadership Scholarship.

Additionally, Scholarship Recipients Through Platinum Sponsors:

  1. Heather Bethel, Manager, Lens and Accessories Merchandising (National Vision)

  2. Monica Chopra, Senior Business Data Analyst, VSP Vision

  3. Reagan Colpitts, Senior Business Development Manager, N.A. Independent Channel (Safilo)

  4. Liz Friedfeld, Head of Business Development (ClearVision)

  5. Lila Hanish, Marketing Associate (Thelios)

  6. April Hatten, Operations Manager/Eye Care Alliance (Essilor Instruments)

  7. Kristen Lukacs, Creative Manager (Zyloware)

  8. Carly Meyerson, Strategic Business Manager, U.S. Vision Care (Bausch+Lomb)

  9. Stephanie McCoy, Senior Manager, EyeMed Provider Experience (EssilorLuxottica)

  10. Tracy Neal, Director of Customer Support (GPN Technologies)

  11. Chrissie Pattison, Marketing Events Manager (Advancing Eyecare)

  12. Lindsay Romah, Business Development Lead (EssilorLuxottica)

Valued at up to $2,000 each, these grants will be used to provide professional mentoring opportunities to each recipient. This continues to promote and support the OWA’s founding principles of connecting, inspiring, and leading women in the optical industry.

An Update On Some 2022 Scholarship Recipients And How They Applied Their Award:

“I chose to use my Leadership Scholarship Award to attend the Authentic Leadership course at Harvard. One of the many valuable lessons I learned from this course was that to truly be an authentic leader, one’s foundation must begin with a strong sense of self — knowing your strengths and weaknesses is essential to contributing at your best, whether you’re working on or leading a team.  This course afforded me an extended skill set that I will utilize for the rest of my life.”

-Carissa Dunphy Communications & Website Committee (PECAA)

“I feel honored to have received the OWA Leadership Scholarship, which I utilized to attend the OWA Unplugged Retreat. As I reflect on the opportunity, I really believe that the retreat helped me focus on the OWA’s pillars of connection, leadership, and inspiration, as that’s exactly what the retreat provided. This scholarship helped me recharge and further solidified the immense respect and admiration I have for the women in the optical industry.”

-Kerri Ann Raimo Digital Marketing Committee (PentaVision, Eyecare Business)

“I had the privilege of attending the 300 participant Small Giants Annual SummitI am entirely grateful to the Optical Women’s Association for the generous leadership scholarship I was granted, as it funded my multi-day experience.  Working with and learning from this purpose-driven group is wholly different from my typical ECP environment, as their organizations and leadership premise closely resembles how ClearVision Optical operates.  Meeting with small-to-mid sized companies, who are similarly committed to supporting their community and to inspiring their team members as primary indicators of business success, made me feel immediately at home.  I was captivated by how businesses navigate these complexities, while growing financially too; The storytelling and leadership journeys served to inspire new ideas to contemplate. I left with so many new friends, unique wisdom, and a sense of accomplishment for taking on my public speaking mission… nerves and all.” -Jennifer Trakhtenberg, Connection & Enrichment Committee (ClearVision Optical)

Additional Scholarship Recipients Through Platinum Sponsors:

“Receiving the OWA Leadership Scholarship Award has been a highlight in my career at National Vision. This award signified to me that my efforts and accomplishments were being seen and appreciated. It gave me the confidence to push myself beyond my comfort zone and explore areas in marketing that I have not yet mastered. For example, I have used my scholarship to pursue continuing education in media and television. I am currently enrolled in a class at NYU where I am learning how to research, plan and assess national TV and digital streaming buys, effectively. This particular area of media is highly fragmented, complex and frankly, it scared me a little bit when I was given the responsibility to oversee this part of the business. Taking the course Media Assessment course at NYU has made me so much more confident (and a little bit dangerous!) in managing the media agency relationship and assessing and optimizing our TV and streaming buy. I have grown in my role at National Vision thanks to the continuing education I received from the OWA Scholarship and for that I am truly thankful and excited for what’s to come. -Cara Endriss (National Vision)

I am grateful to the Optical Women’s Association for the Leadership scholarship that allowed me to earn a certificate in Kellogg School of Management and Emeritus’s Mastering Sales: A Toolkit for Success program. The opportunity was timely, as I was making a move into a sales career and needed the training to become an efficient and effective sales leader. The well-designed, high impact, and fast paced program was lead by the founder of the Kellogg Sales Institute, Craig Wortmann, who exposed me to the art and science of the sales process. We went through a comprehensive review of the sales process – from the preparation to the customer contact, and finally, how to scale up sales consistently by building the right sales and management protocols. Through the program, I practiced more than 30 different tools and built a personalized Sales Toolkit to support each phase of the sales process. The course has been valuable in not only helping me improve my selling skills, but also offering best practices for recruiting, training, building, and managing high-performing sales teams. -Shweta Gupta (EssilorLuxottica)

“Receiving a scholarship to enroll in the Future of Work University’s “Future of Work Fastrack” and the Society for Human Resource Management’s (SHRM) “HR Department of One” courses has been a transformative opportunity. The Future of Work Fastrack not only equipped me with essential skills for thriving in the evolving professional landscape but also instilled in me the ability to learn, think like an entrepreneur, collaborate effectively, and foster a growth mindset. These skills are invaluable in the dynamic and rapidly changing world of work. Additionally, the HR Department of One course offered by SHRM enabled me to enhance my resourcefulness, agility, and focus on adapting to the ever-changing needs of my organization. The specialty credential I earned, the SHRM Department of One, serves as a testament to my enhanced credibility and the crucial role I play in developing insights and setting strategic initiatives while maintaining a balance with day-to-day operations. This scholarship has not only opened doors to valuable knowledge but has also positioned me as a versatile and skilled professional prepared for the challenges of the future workplace.

-Cheryl Moore (GPN Technologies)

My immediate thought was, “Let’s jump into this opportunity of a new experience!” And, I was so rewarded for taking that deep dive even after receiving the prep questionnaire for the OnStage Leadership program, which filled me with, “What did I get myself into?.” Making and taking the time for observing others, yourself, and your coach is difficult for all of us: no matter our everyday choices. Then connecting with ourselves and others with Kimberly’s coaching of our authentic selves which was supported with exploration and tools to figure out how to achieve some percentage of that within our days of constant framing, listening, and motivating. Analyzing and learning how to be more effective, more constructive with our actions…becoming more intentional by doing it my way or your way and still continuing to connect. So much content, so little space. -JaMarie Plaff, Zyloware – OnStage Leadership

“I’ve always known – or been told – that networks are important to professional success, but my network has always just, sort of…been there. I attend virtual and in-person events where possible; I connect with mutual contacts when I’m able, and I try to help others when I’m asked. But I can’t say that I’ve ever taken an active role in strategically building or leveraging my network with intent. After receiving the OWA Leadership Scholarship, and consulting with my fellow OWA members who have received the scholarship in the past, I decided to use the funds to attend the Women in Leadership course from the Yale School of Management. And I’m so thrilled that I did! I gained invaluable knowledge from the course, including tips and tricks to leverage my network, and I feel reenergized about my career and am better prepared to seize all the opportunities that lie ahead. Thanks again to the OWA for providing this wonderful member benefit and to my amazing VSP Vision colleagues for nominating me.”

-Tatiana Stewart (VSP Vision)

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